hardware and software for electronic music 


Physical modeling, made accessible.



A patchable synth with an innovative UI and distinctive sounds.

Soundplane Model A


The computer music controller with the
feel of an acoustic instrument.
Temporarily out of stock.


Monday, July 06, 2015
by Randy Jones

Soundplane performance roundup

Here are recent videos of some inspiring Soundplane performances. Hearing and seeing what you are doing gets me fired up to work on more instruments. Thanks to all the players / composers.

Lee Gauthier

Mark Harris

Gaël Navard

Thursday, February 26, 2015
by Randy Jones

Aalto 1.6.1 now available

Aalto 1.6.1 is out now for Mac and Windows. You can get it at all the usual places. If you have a license, click "my downloads" up there to get the link to your personalized version. If you want to try the demo, go to the product page. Make sure to get the patches download if you're on Mac OS.

1.6.1 changes:

  • fixed a problem where parameter automation was turning off due to a loop.
  • Fixed "ghost window" issue on close in 32-bit Live
  • fixed issue with AU version not loading in Live
  • fixed errors in OSC enabled state
  • fixed a possible crash in the patch converter
  • patch converter on VST version was generating default patches from .aupreset - fixed
Friday, February 13, 2015
by Randy Jones

Aalto 1.6 now available

Version 1.6 of Aalto is now available for Mac and Windows. This version contains many improvements for efficiency and host compatibility.

New in Aalto version 1.6:

  • both AU and VST versions now use .mlpreset files in new JSON format
  • added preset converter to convert all old presets to new format
  • presets directory moved to ~/Music/Madrona Labs
  • improved speed of preset loading
  • fixed a problem with keyboard stealing in 64-bit VST
  • now saving window size state properly in compatible DAWs
  • fixed an issue with the oscillator and extreme pitch modulation
  • added OSC enable / disable and port offset (Mac OS)
  • sequencer now quantizes to currently selected musical scale.
  • fix parameter loading when no DSP is active in application (for Max/MSP and Vienna Instruments)
  • fixed problem with sequencer retrig
  • fixed defaults for envelope trigger and x vel
  • added defaults to make MIDI patches more compatible with Soundplane / t3d
  • added clearer display of multiple channels in scope dials
  • fixed a bug affecting MIDI timing
  • added multi-channel MIDI receive for voice-per-channel operation with Soundplane / t3d
  • fixed an issue affecting Save as... on some systems
  • improved graphics performance
  • fixed a problem that prevented MIDI program changes on some systems
  • fixed bug when no MIDI Programs folder was present
  • Scala keyboard mapping files (.kbm) now loaded if present in scales directory with same name as
  • scale
  • improved UI response for dials with only a few values
  • on Save as... outside normal patch directory, warn then allow anyway.
  • fix an issue loading patches if the home directory was renamed (Mac OS)
  • fixed a bug where a program change could cause t3d to stop receiving
  • added environment menu that contains editor and OSC settings
  • added "reset editor size" option in settings
The Aalto 1.6 update is free for existing Aalto customers. A demo version is also available free of charge. The demo plays a gentle reminder sound every so often, does not allow saving and is not time-limited.
Monday, January 19, 2015
by Randy Jones

off the grid: on a plane by ingmob

Check out this lovely Soundplane performance en plein air.

off the grid: on a plane from ingMob on Vimeo.

Friday, December 19, 2014
by Randy Jones

Open Sound Control developments

There's been a lot of work done with Madrona Labs’ instruments and OSC (Open Sound Control) lately. I’m not sure why the sudden flurry of developments—maybe winter is suited to working on these plumbing/scaffolding types of activities. In any case, I'm very happy to see it. Open Sound Control is much more suited than MIDI for handling the high-resolution, rich, per-touch data that comes from instruments like the Soundplane.

First, here are a couple of videos from António Machado, showing his work with a Haken Continuum, Kaivo, and Aalto. He uses the EigenD environment and an “agent” (EigenD object) written by Mark Harris to give high-res, note-per-touch data to Aalto and Kaivo. It’s rare to see a techy video that is this enjoyable to listen to in its own right, so a big thanks to António and Mark, and please enjoy...

Friday, December 05, 2014
by Randy Jones

Winter Sale 2014

Greetings! I'm writing to announce the Madrona Labs five-day winter sale, starting now. From now until December 10, all of our software is 50% off. Now is a great time to get everyone’s favorite patchable software synths for yourself or a friend. To get the discount, use the coupon code ‘dougfir‘ on any product page, just above the ‘Buy Now’ button.

If you would like to give someone an Aalto or Kaivo license as a gift, it’s easy. Just buy the software in the usual way, but enter your friend's first and last name instead of yours when you make the Madrona Labs account. Then you can gift your friend the account name and password. Your friend can log in, download the software and change the account email to his or her very own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014
by Randy Jones

Educational pricing

It’s educational

I’ve always been happy to offer educational pricing deals for my plugins, if someone asks. I have not generally advertised it because the selling mechanism was a bit of a pain to deal with for both me and the buyer. Thanks to some improvements to the web site, that is no longer the case, so I'm spreading the news more widely now.

A 50% discount on all Madrona Labs software is available for any person currently enrolled in or teaching school or university. If you would like to use this discount, please do the following:

  • Make a Madrona Labs account if you don’t have one
  • Send an email to support@madronalabs.com including a picture of your current student or faculty ID, and telling me what you want to buy (Aalto and/or Kaivo). Please keep the image size small (< 1Mb) or the mail may bounce!
When I get the email I’ll send you download coupons that you can use at purchase to get your educational discount.

I plan to keep this 50% discount on software available indefinitely, so there’s no hurry. Madrona Labs would not be here without the past support of my research by the University of Victoria, and its future will be shaped by ideas presented at conferences like DAFX and NIME.

For site license pricing, please contact me at support@madronalabs.com.


I’m only taking one class, is that OK?
Yes, thanks for asking.

My school or university doesn’t have IDs.
Then it’s probably not an accredited educational institution, which is kind of where I draw the line.

Is there a discount on hardware?

Is this educational version different in any way from the normal software?
No. It is the same license, for commercial or non-commercial use, and does not expire. It will qualify for the same upgrades as the full-priced version.

Can I use the educational discount along with another sale discount?
No, only one discount at once.

Monday, November 17, 2014
by Randy Jones

Soundplanes available!

I always try to refine the Soundplane design and production process, and I can say that the third run of Soundplanes has turned out to be the best one yet. I allowed for a 10% failure rate of finished main circuit boards, building 30 complete boards and only selling 27. Happily, we had a 0% failure rate and every board has tested OK. So, I have an extra instrument to offer right now and a couple more special builds waiting in the wings.

Soundplane #0073

Soundplane #0073

Here you see Soundplane #0073 (click for closeups). One of the darker-colored cherry instruments from the third run, it is a sharp looker, and of course a smooth player. It's for sale at $1,895—if you would like to order it, just send me an email to randy at madronalabs dot com and I'll send a money request to you via PayPal. I can ship it out immediately. Please see the ordering info at http://madronalabs.com/soundplane, especially if you are outside the USA.

There are also two instruments for sale on the forums. One is in the USA and essentially unused, from this most recent run. There is also an instrument from the previous run for sale by its owner in Europe. For a European buyer it could mean a good savings on the purchase prices as well as duties and postage. [EDIT] updated info

Thursday, October 23, 2014
by Randy Jones

Run 3 done, Aalto work, Yosemite

Run 3 of Soundplanes is all wrapped up, and for a couple of weeks most of the instruments have been in happy new hands. Some people weren’t available to receive them, so here are a couple of stragglers going out this week.


After this run, I find myself with two or three remaining sets of good parts, as well as some prototype cases I had milled from walnut. I look forward to building out these instruments when I have time to get back into the shop, so watch this space for info if you're looking for a Soundplane because I plan to put one or more them up for sale if they make the cut.

Right now, though, I am on a dive back into Aalto land, and I'm not coming out until the 1.6 version is ready. This will fix the bug with the preset converter in version 1.5, as well as many other issues. This won't be a "fancy new features" release, rather the result of a whole lot of work under the hood that should make everything more solid and efficient. You know, the kind of release you wish companies would devote more time to.

Apple just released a new version of MacOS called Yosemite. I haven't tried it yet because of the aforementioned Aalto work. I have heard a few rumblings about problems with window management in VST plugins. So for now, I would recommend that you not upgrade, unless you can't resist all the nice new eye candy, and you're not in the middle of a project. If you do try it out, please drop by the forums and let us all know how it's going.

Friday, September 12, 2014
by Randy Jones

Mise en place

Here’s a new run 3 Soundplane on the bench, with the little boxes of parts and some of the tools I need to put it together:

surfaces 1-8

The little boxes are a low-tech solution that has evolved over a few generations. The weighted bases let me grab parts out of them quickly without tipping them over very often. Sometimes it's the little things.

Here’s the grain on our new friend, up close. It’s performing wonderfully. My pictures never do justice to the shell inlays, which in real life are iridescent.

surfaces 1-8